Sometimes the pressure of the holidays can make it seem easier to fall back into regular shopping patterns… the big box stores, the impulse buys, the waste. It does seem easier. But there are so many great green options for gift-giving that won’t have you giving up your priorities. If you’re just getting started, start early and go one step at a time. Most importantly, enjoy the process! I’ve created this guide to help make it easy to give better this year – I hope you like it!
Gifts for Grown-Ups
These options are non-toxic, healthier, thoughtful alternatives to conventional gifts. And the recipient doesn’t have to be green, or even know that you’re shopping green this year!
There are some amazing local makers that offer a range of options in a range of price-points. Marmalade Designs is owned by a local mom who chooses least toxic materials and recycles all scraps. And I came across Spirit of Vera’s beautiful, handcrafted, recycled stirling silver pieces at the Green Living Show and was immediately taken with her designs.
Natural Body Care & Cosmetics
Putting together gift packages with healthier options can be easy. I love Green Beaver’s range of made-in-Canada products – Boreal Face Cream and Body Lotion, Honey Lip Balm. Graydon and Pure Anada are other Canadian brands with healthy ingredients and are recommended by clean beauty expert Maria Velve of Marvelous You. Her consultations would make a great gift as well!
If you’re looking to support an MLM brand, I suggest Beautycounter over others for healthier ingredients (here are some consultants who can help you out: Annabel in Vancouver, BC; Jennifer in Markham, ON; Jocelyn in Toronto, ON).
Or, add a personal touch and make your own! My next DIY Body Care Workshop is happening December 14th in Toronto. Learn more and register here.
If candles are your go-to host or teacher gift, opt for non-toxic ones made from unscented soy or beeswax. Organic Lifestyle has several options from tapers to tea lights to pillars.
These may seem like a cop-out, but allowing the recipient to choose what they want will be less wasteful than giving something you happen to have on-hand or that you think they might want.
For a gift card that keeps on giving, the Healthy Moms Discount Card offers great discounts at hundreds of stores and online retailers in Toronto and Vancouver.
Many adults I know don’t actually need – or want – more “things”. Experiential gifts are low-impact and often more fun than things that will add to clutter in the home. I included some ideas in last year’s gift guide that you can read here.
Gifts for Kids
A lot of families are complaining that they have too much stuff. Experiences are great gifts for kids – creating memories and skills instead of clutter and waste (I give some ideas here). At the same time, I know some high-quality toys and activities are nice to have around (or sometimes there are family members who just need to give “stuff”). Here are some ideas for better gifts for kids.
Untreated Solid Wood Toys
I’m more of a minimalist when it comes to toys, but it doesn’t stop toys from coming in the house. If you’re giving to a child, consider reducing toys in general. But if you’re going to give toys, check out the hand-made untreated wood alternatives to plastic push and pull toys, ride-on cars, and boats from Organic Lifestyle.
I love giving clothes for kids’ gifts. My go-to is high quality second-hand clothing from iSpy Clothing. For new clothes, check out made-in-Toronto Poco Mono or European-imports from Modern Rascals – both featuring brightly coloured patterns in certified organic cotton. Going a size up will help the clothes last longer too.
Books are practical, but can also be cluttering. Before giving books, find out if the family needs more and at what level they need them. The library is a great way to keep rotating your book collection instead. However, it’s always nice to have a small collection of books at home and for this I love Butterfly Books, a subscription service that sends a child a monthly book based on their individual likes and needs.
There you have it! I hope this inspires you to give with more intention and purpose this year. And just because you give green, doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing anything. All of the brands I listed here are high quality and you’ll be supporting a local, small business. You can feel good about your purchases, your loved ones will feel great about their gifts, and another family will be supported. You can’t go wrong!